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If you are in the market to buy an existing home in Brevard, be prepared.

In some cases, it takes a few hours for a property ad to go live before you receive multiple offers above the asking price and are paid in cash.

That’s what many local real estate agents have to say about how quickly homes in Brevard are selling and a lot of it is due to the few homes on the market.

“We all know what it’s like to walk into Publix these days and see empty shelves,” said James Ryan Reichel of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty. “This is the Brevard real estate market right now. No toilet paper, no pasta, no meat. There just isn’t enough real estate to meet the demand to supply the market.”

For homebuyers, the process can be frustrating.

Kathy Jaromin, 49, moves to Brevard from Chesterfield County, Virginia with her husband. Former Lake Mary residents Jaromin said they wanted to return to the Sunshine State for the weather, but were unprepared for the incredibly difficult task of buying a home here.

“We’ve been looking since October,” she said. “We kept making offers and getting pushed or beaten.”

The Jaromins were just lucky; they had been second in line with an offer on a Rockledge house. They have just been informed that the lead buyer has failed and their offer has been accepted.

“When we moved from Lake Mary to Virginia, we had young children and it was stressful,” Jaromin said. “But nothing like the stress of buying a home in this market.”

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How fast are homes on the Space Coast selling right now?

“Essentially immediately if their price is right and in good condition,” said Tom Taranto, CEO of Team Taranto, Keller Williams Realty Brevard. “Only overpriced or very rough houses stay on the market longer.”

“We’ve had many listings where exposure has been booked by the time we’ve marked the listing as active and the very first potential buyer has made an offer,” Taranto said. “Often we post an ad on a Wednesday or Thursday and immediately have several offers. We then usually wait to sit down with the sellers on Sunday afternoon to make the selection of the best offer. It’s really like a slow-motion auction, but with the added element that we not only compare the price, but also all the other terms of the deal.

Shane Burgman of Carpenter Kessel Realty said the Multiple List Service (MLS) data so far for 2022 is telling – with homes on the market for just over a week. The Multiple Listing Service is where real estate listings are located across the country.

“There have been 316 single family homes closed in Brevard County with a median of 8 days on the market,” Burgman said. That means 158 of the homes sold so far this year sold within a week of listing on MLS.

“I sold an ad in Palm Bay on the second day it went live with five offers, three of which were over-requested,” said James Ryan Reichel of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty. “As a listing agent, it’s amazing and exciting. As a buying agent, it’s both a sprint and a marathon. I was recently showing a house to clients and within two hours of when it hit the market, they were already in a situation of multiple offer above the asking price.”

Sales not as fast as in 2021

But some agents say they noticed a slight slowdown in December in the speed of sales compared to the frenzy that marked 2021. One reason, however, could be because the market is so hot that sellers find themselves “without shelter” before they’ve found their next property.

Tami Leliuga of Coldwell Banker Paradise said some sellers were stranded after selling their current home within days, while unable to find their next home before buyers wanted to close.

“Sellers are waiting to find a new home before listing their current home.” she said

She also said there seems to be some uncertainty that any interest rate hikes will kill the market.

“My feeling is that they’re not selling that fast,” said Stephanie Dandridge, estate agent at One Sotheby’s International Realty. “Last year was an epic year in Brevard County sales history. I’ve never seen anything like it. Our market is always hot and remains a seller’s market, but I think 2021 has been an abnormality. “

This slight decline is evident in the latest figures from the Space Coast Association of Realtors which showed a -0.5% drop in sales closings in December 2021 compared to December 2020. But for the whole of 2021, sales concluded increased by 9.8% year-on-year. with 12,581 units sold compared to 11,457 in 2020.

December also saw a dramatic increase in the number of cash sales compared to the same month a year earlier – up 26.8%.

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Low inventory, high demand

Agents say one of the main reasons for the boiling market is the shortage of available inventory.

“In a county of over 600,000 people, we only have 928 active homes for sale,” Taranto said. “A lot of our listings have 30 showings and 10 offers by the time we accept an offer. Many industries in our area are still growing and people are moving to the area to find work.

Steve Stark of Engel & Völkers agreed and pointed out that the coronavirus pandemic was making the inventory problem worse.

“When COVID hit, the market was already hot and had already been a seller’s market for years,” Stark said. “COVID has caused a dramatic drop in the number of listings on the market, and that number has yet to recover.”

In fact, the latest data from the Space Coast Association of Realtors shows Brevard ended 2021 with less than a month’s supply of homes available on the market – that number is based on the number of people entering the county versus the number of listings currently on MLS.

Reichel said that due to the low inventory of existing homes, he had to change his strategy with buyers.

One such buyer is Sharif Abdel-Magid, 33, who works at the Kennedy Space Center.

“We never got to a point where we were making offers,” said Abdel-Magid, who decided to opt for new construction rather than continuing to look for a pre-existing house. “We looked at several different homes at different price ranges and budgets. But when we looked at some of the models, we liked the idea of ​​just customizing for ourselves.

Reichel said he never got to a point where he could make an offer with Abdel-Magid because the houses would be contracted before they had a chance to submit.

“A lot of my clients have become exhausted with the bidding wars and the constant ups and downs of emotions,” he said. “So the majority of my sales this year have been new construction in Viera.”

Out-of-state buyers see great value in Brevard

But what, other than low inventory, is keeping the Space Coast market on fire?

“A large number of buyers continue to flock to our beautiful state from other parts of the country such as New York, New Jersey, California and Illinois,” Stark said. “Many of these buyers arrive with pockets full of money from the sale of their homes in their previous states, where home values ​​are much higher than they are locally.”

Dandridge said the growing space program also continues to attract buyers and has helped propel Brevard “to the forefront of everyone’s wish list.”

And when it comes to out-of-state buyers, there’s even more to this aspect than selling a more expensive home in another state.

“Politics,” Burgman said. “Relaxed COVID protocols and the governor are a big draw.”

Burgman also noted Brevard’s booming economy, especially government contractors, and an affordable cost of living compared to other coastal areas in the state, including Vero Beach and Miami.

And if you think it’s only the low end of the market exploding through sales, you’re wrong – it depends who you talk to.

“All price ranges are selling out fast right now,” Taranto said. “I’ve seen immediate offers on everything from $170,000 to $2,800,000 and everything in between. It’s surprising how many people are looking for luxury beachfront homes and condos — and those buyers are often paying cash. The majority of our sales over the past few months have sold for above appraised value, which is a clear sign that prices in general are on the rise. »

Dandridge focused on a narrower range for home sales.

“The $300,000 to $600,000 price range is still on fire! Always multiple offers on each property,” she said.

Burgman agreed, indicating a range of $350,000 to $550,000 for home sales.

While Reichel and Stark both indicated an even lower range – $200,000 to $400,000. This range corresponds to the median home price in Brevard which rose to $326,350 in December, an increase of 19% from December 2020. The median home price is the point at which half of the homes on the market have sold more and the other half sold for less. .

As for the rest of 2022? Local agents say they are optimistic.

“I predict another great year with a strong market, but not the blistering pace of 2021,” Dandridge said. “Hopefully inventory will increase as the pool of buyers grows. Waterfront is still at a premium with strong demand from buyers.”

Leliuga expects a solid year based on low interest rates, new construction and sellers more comfortable selling even if they haven’t yet purchased their next home. But she said there was a little fear of a bubble.

And she said there are people who will continue to be shut out of the Space Coast market.

“Unfortunately, people who are already behind the 8 ball when it comes to financing a home will always be behind the 8 ball,” she said.

Reichel said 2020 and 2021 taught him, as a real estate agent, to expect the unexpected and lots of new construction.

“The St Johns Heritage Parkway opens up many new properties for Brevard and I’m excited to see how this will change our county and our real estate market,” he said.

Rob Landers is a veteran multimedia journalist with the USA Today network in Florida. Contact Landers at 321-242-3627 or [email protected] Twitter: @ByRobLanders

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